A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Posts tagged ‘parents’

WAR!

So it’s definitely been far too long since I’ve been posting regularly.  I have no excuses.  Aliens.  Aliens, maybe.  Just insert your favorite alien abduction scenario, it’ll come to you.

I felt like making note that my existence has actually caused a minor nuclear war in the interpersonal lives of some people who are technically more friends-of-friends than anything.  This fact has prevented the whole ordeal from impacting me any more strongly than a minor passing amusement.

See, my roomie’s best friend has a hyper-christian mom (that’s how these tales of war always start, I’m finding by studying my history, with some hyper-christian figure of authority).  She was spending a lot of time at my apartment to get away from these nutcases, and was considering our house a free and innocent haven.

Unfortunately, deception had to be thrown in the mix to maintain the facade of innocence.  She decided (without asking me first of course) to tell her mom that I was a girl so that she wouldn’t think I was having sex with her.  (Not sure how that really helped the situation, as I could have been a raving dyke and I don’t think my lack of a penis would have stopped me, maybe it just would have been my decency and respect for her human right to demand my refraining from rape, I don’t know, something like that.  Point is, apparently it worked.   Christian moms have mysterious minds.)

At this point in the story, I was still confused as to why my genitals were even relevant to someone who I’d never met and never intended to meet, and she probably could have gotten a similar effect by pretending I didn’t exist at all and I would have been a bit more comfortable with that.  But at this point I just continued tapping my fingers together bemusedly and said, “Go on….”  (Hopefully this was more disarming than disconcerting, but one can never tell.  Maybe I should study my human reactions more closely, but the pleasing sound of her voice getting a lot more strained and the little beads of sweat appearing on her forehead tells me I was on the right track and she was relaxing into a nice calm afternoon.)

So, apparently one afternoon recently while my roomie was visiting their family, this friend-of-a-friend had to go take a shower, and my roomie was left on the porch, cornered by terrifying zealot-mom who started interrogating her about this mysterious “Tommy” person in the house.  Here’s where the romantic-comedy-esque hilarious miscommunication ensues, as friend-of-a-friend had not informed Roomie that she was insisting that I was a girl, and my Roomie had been trained rigorously to insist that I was male.  So upon interrogation she began declaring that I was her brother, and then that no really, I was a dude, and why would you think something like that you’ve never even met him, and why do you keep calling your daughter a dirty heathen liar, and oh shit something’s gone horribly wrong here, hasn’t it?

So long story short, my very existence as a gender-ambiguous being has caused a major rift in an already shaky mother-daughter relationship and she’s on the verge of being kicked out for “lying” about me (I’m actually kind of happy that her mom was convinced that I was a dude and that she was boning me and just telling her mom that I was a chick to get away with it, all “Twelfth Night” and shit).  It’s kind of true, minus the screwing part.  I just don’t know how to support her here- one way or another I wouldn’t just be boning her because she’s a female in my house and I’m a male, end of story.  But as far as she sees it, she DIDN’T lie to her mom.  And that sucks.  I don’t know why I can’t be trusted on the sole merit of my honor, and I have to have my vagina flashed around the neighborhood just to be “safe”.  Funny world we live in.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to dance into their living room wearing flaming horns and a strap-on dildo and howl and cavort like a devil-child just to give her mom a heart attack, because there’s no honest explanation of this that will save my image in her eyes.  I really don’t care what she thinks of me; she’s crazy by definition.  Mainly I’m just amused that I got to shatter a christian family by mere merit of my existence and I didn’t even have to lift a finger.  God bless America.

Still in the closet?

I wanted to crosspost this over from a reply I made to a thread over at TQ Nation this morning.  It wound up running way longer than I intended, and it seemed like it’d be a shame and a waste of time if I didn’t record it in my blog.  I feel like this post pretty much sums up how I feel towards my gender these days, even though it’s not the update on my life stuff that I’ve been promising.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get to that this weekend.

In the mean time, sexy crossdressing goodness.  😉

*****

When people ask me if I’m a boy or a girl, I answer, “Yes. I am certainly one or the other.”

If you want the long answer, here it is. I know in my heart of hearts that I was meant to be a dude- to have a male body, a male voice, and male hormones interacting with my male brainwaves (male patterns of thinking + female hormones = not the most stable of situations, psychologically.) But if you were to ask me what KIND of guy I am, that’s where it gets confusing, because I know that if I had been born with all the right fixtures, I would crossdress a lot of the time.

I like the feel of a female presentation interacting on top of a male base. I like theatrics and big musical numbers and drag- I like the feel of foundation smoothed over the closest possible shave, just barely concealing the stubble waiting to apring up underneath; I like the sound of a velvety female voice coming out of male vocal chords. But when there’s not a physical male base beneath these things, it all just feels pointless. I don’t know if this makes me a horrible person, but there’s nothing about female presentation that feels attractive (at least, on me) if it “passes”, if it doesn’t have at least some physical maleness lurking around underneath. In any case that I feel people would look at me and say “that’s a chick” and not “that’s a gay man in a dress”, I would rather just present as male.

So, I have been. I’ve been presenting as male for one and a half years, 24/7. I’ve been trying to get on testosterone, waiting for my voice to drop and my stubble to start coming in. I’ve been a closeted crossdresser for all this time. Where some people in my situation (still stuck, living with my family) would be more inclined to hide their transgenderism, I proudly display my Axe body spray, my Old Spice deodorant, my suits and ties and all the trappings of maleness that visually root my surroundings to my identity and say “A Man lives here.” And in the background, I stuff away all the old flowy scarves and lace gowns and mom’s old jewelry and makeup and I hide it away in my closet and I whisper to myself, “Some day.” I become mortified at the thought of my dad stumbling across it all. It’s another gender paradox- my dad would be thrilled to find out that I still entertain thoughts of dressing as a girl. I know it pains him to see my hair cut short every couple months and see me go to formal functions in that old suit I stole from him and not that Easter dress he got for me the last time before he gave up on it. I beg to go fishing with him, follow him to the garage to get him to let me help work on the car, try to keep up when he’s talking sports, knowing all the while that each little thing like this might be helping to build my “male cred” with him, but at the same time wanting nothing more than to be on that stage in the spotlight, dripping with jewels and lipsynching “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

I know it would destroy my chances of ever being seen as his son- even little things, like expressing pain when I get a papercut, earn reactions like “A boy wouldn’t act like that.” For him, my every action is now filtered through whether or not it makes me a man. I know if his best friend Monty got a papercut, my Dad go “Ow man, that sucks.” Is it just because he can grow a beard, Dad? Is this where the difference between commiseration and discrimination lies? The ability to cultivate facial hair?

It goes deeper, it gets more complicated. I hide my relationships from him. I know that if he sees that the guy who comes over all the time is not only my “best friend”, but also my lover, he’ll have that same reaction that everyone else has. “If you’re dating guys, then isn’t it just easier to be a girl?” The answer is no, because the guys that I like to date don’t go OUT with girls. It’s the cross any gay son has to carry, if maybe there’s a little more at stake for me (because no matter what most born-male people do, their parents still probably use male pronouns- to some people’s disadvantage!), but all in all still the same- the status of your masculinity is threatened if your dad finds out you bone other guys. I don’t feel alone on this one.

It sucks that so many people still link preference to gender identity, but such is life and we all have to deal with the ugly truths. But since so many people still judge based on the kind of tail you chase, and how people in the real world judge me factors into how I feel about myself and interact with others, I might as well go into that too.

Of course, “gay” is also hard to define with me. I’ve dated girls before, although none of them were lesbians- if anything, they were bi (which is cool with me, because if you’re not bi, you’re either going to have a problem with my body or my mind, and not minding either one is always a bonus.) You have to be a really special kind of girl to catch my eye, though- it’s hard to pick the pattern out of all the girls I’ve been attracted to, but I guess if I had to say, they weren’t gender binary, either. They were none of them very butch, but never really feminine- I guess you could say, they were female bodied HUMANS. The packaging was never what drew me in, but their personality.

My preference for guys, on the other hand, is very specific. They have to be willing to bottom, they have to be comfortable with their queerness to the point that they can acknowledge they are dating a guy with a cunt, and they have to have at least a little passion for crossdressing, of course. When it comes down to it, if we were to get married and I wore a tux, if he didn’t want to wear a wedding gown, then he doesn’t make the cut. It’s a weird standard by which to measure, I know, but there’s something about a guy in a wedding dress that just tickles me up and down and all over.

Of course, everything else in between is on a case by case basis. I have a special place in my heart for the transgendered, NOT because of my crossdressing fetish (because if you’re wearing what matches up with your internal gender identity, then it’s not crossdressing to me) but because we fight a long hard battle every one of us, and the idea of having a mate who can relate to that on something more than an abstract level appeals to me.

I guess I’ve been rambling, but in summation, I’m simply this:

1) A fabulous guy with a crossdressing fetish
2) who is pretty much gay but not definitively
3) and also happens to have a cunt.

[Note the order- 1) me, 2) what I like, 3) physical. The physical bits come last out of that order, always.]

In a word?

Queer.

1 Year Manniversary!

So, it was this day last year that I made the decision to start living full time as male.  I’ve pulled this from the first post on my blog:

“This is Day 1.  Ground zero.
Today’s the official start of my transitioning process.
Some day, I won’t be the only person who sees me as a man.  Some day the whole goddamn world will without a second guess.  And it’s only a matter of time.
Joaquin Jack, the rootin’-est tootin’-est outlaw in the Wild West.”

A lot of things have changed since that day.  The most recent change?  I’m now officially a working stiff.  Yep, that volunteer gig I’ve been talking about since April?  They finally offered me a full time, paid job with benefits.  My medical insurance starts in September, and I can start the process of medical transition this year.

Social transition started a long time ago.  Most people I know call me Tommy, even in the workplace.  Most of those people call me by male pronouns, except for family and people in the workplace.  I don’t know how I’m going to navigate that when I start looking and sounding more male, but I have a very cool and understanding supervisor who is used to dealing with people in unusual personal situations, so I’d be surprised if she treats me unfairly.

Funnily enough, my attitude towards pronouns has gotten a lot more lax lately, mainly because I’m just so tired of seeing people struggle with it.  I’ve even had a few people who have been trying their damnedest break down and cry over it, even when I wasn’t pressing the issue.  I can tell with these people, they genuinely want to say the right things around me and it really gets to them when they don’t, and it’s gotten to the point where I frankly don’t give a shit anymore.  I mean, it’s awesome when I get sirred in public, but there’s nothing I can do right now about the fact that I look, sound and smell female, and asking people to do mental acrobatics around it is a little unreasonable until I’ve been on T for a while.

That’s not to say that I let people walk all over me, though.  Recently a few friends and I were hanging out, and I was telling this story from back when I was still doing the whole “chick” thing, and one of my brodudes said, “Hey, FYI, you’re still a chick.”

I punched him in the face.

It was kind of awesome.  His head slammed the wall behind him and he came up dizzy and checking if all his teeth were there.

He got the picture.  We were cool from then on.

***

What else has changed since last year?  Hm…
– My car works again, feels good to have independence.
– I’ve finally gotten back into the habit of showering and brushing my teeth every day- I care about my body now that it might actually belong to me one day.
– I’ve been eating less junk food and soda and crap and staying active, and I’ve gained some muscle and lost 23 pounds worth of spare fat.
– I’m on my way to quitting smoking (which I’ve never really mentioned on here because I don’t want to make any of my  former smoker transbros start jonesing, but I feel it’s worth bringing up at least on my manniversary.)
– I finally got together the balls to cut my hair last year, feels awesome not to have an extra blanket of heat coating my neck and back in the summer.
– I’ve become an expert at using an STP at public urinals, and have broken the fear of using the men’s room.
– I’ve come out to my dad and we even talk about it at lengths these days, and he (sort of) accepts me as his son, off and on.  It’s all I can ask for at this point.
– Have been wearing a real binder, not an improvised one that could distort my ribs, for probably about 9 months now.  Of course I’ve been binding off and on for a long time, and every single day for a year now, but using one regularly that doesn’t hurt my back has done wonders for my self-esteem and general health.
– Since having them compressed every day, I’ve lost at least a cup size.  I used to be a full C, and now I’m kind of a saggy B.  Not as attractive with my shirt off, but much easier to bind, and sometimes I can even wear a baggy shirt without being self-conscious.
– I’ve pumped off and on all year, and let’s just say my microcock is a lot easier to see these days.
– A lot of other smaller things that I don’t feel like recounting.

The only negative thing is that I’ve become a lot less comfortable with sex these days.  Since being with someone who doesn’t neccessarily find my trans situation attractive and kinda made me feel like shit about myself in several ways, and becoming more and more wary that any guy I’m with will want to do me in the manhole, I’ve lost my sex drive almost entirely.  This has led to even more anxiety about it, since, as a general rule, “males have a bigger sex drive”, and since last year, mine has only shrunk.  Of course, it’s all a performance anxiety and self-consciousness issue.  But it’s kind of positive that I’m less desparately, widly depressed about how small my dick is and more generally just not interested in sex right now.  I’m sure when I find the right person, all that anxiety about my genitals will go away, and having my sex drive boosted by T won’t be as soul-crushing.

Anyway, my manniversary celebration turned out to be a lot less exciting than I originally planned, but then, I originally planned to be taking my first T shot right about now.  I’ve basically only had my best friend over today and we’ve surfed the internet all day and listened to music.  That’s it. It just seemed superfluous to make a big deal out of “Hey, I decided something this day last year!”  I’ll probably go buy a cake or something when I actually get on T.

***

I think the biggest point of all this is, I held my own Real Life Test, just to know for sure, for my own purposes, that this was what I wanted to do, that not only could I handle the societal pressures of being male, but the problems that come with living as one gender when the world percieves you as another.

It went far better than expected.

I’ve been living with genuine peace of mind in myself for a year, despite the storm raging all around.  I’ve come to know who I really am, and that person wasn’t as cool as I originally thought he would be, but I’ve settled with being a big dork, and I’m happy with that.  I haven’t been experiencing any delusions or hallucinations, the dissociation has ceased, my emotional turmoil has settled considerably, and since having a cool and sane head, I can see that a lot of the world wasn’t as big and scary and dramatic and bad as I thought it was.  I’ve developed a sense of responsibility to myself and others now that I have a cemented sense of identity and I don’t feel like a visitor to this world operating an expendable avatar.  I’m comfortable with myself and my friends tell me that I seem happier.  There’s no more being constantly on edge for fear that my own mind will revolt and I’ll have to account for yet another day lost to someone I don’t know.  I’ve gotten used to what it’s like to be the only person in here, and it’s surprisingly simple, even if at first it was a little claustrophobic.  I feel much more real, I feel connected to the consequences of my actions, I feel in control.  I feel… normal.

That was something I never expected.

Day Twelve: Intrapersonal progress.

(I’m probably going to keep this short because the exhaustion of the funeral and so forth in the last few days has drawn me out.  Nonetheless, I intend to keep on track with the challenge as much as possible.)

Some time last week, a friend and his family took me out to go bowling.  Naturally, when he put my original name on the electronic scorekeeper readout, I had him change it to Tommy because the discomfort of seeing my old name announced across the entire casino made me want to rip my own guts out.  Now, to understand the complexity of the situation, let me explain that my friend is gay, and his parents are very conservative Christians.  To say that he’s used to keeping secrets is an understatement- his mom does know but she’s somewhat uncomfortable, and even she had advised him not to let his dad in on it.  So when I went to change my name on the readout, my friend almost stopped me.  But I told him, “I don’t need a reason not to like my old nickname.  Let’s just leave it at that for now.”

Now, I figured the delicacy of the situation would involve him explaining to his mom at a later date when his dad wasn’t around, because even as open as I’ve become about it, his dad does make me a little uncomfortable.  But what he told me later bothered me somewhat.  He said that his mom had guessed dead on the nose, saying, “Is she becoming a boy?” and he’d “explained” that I just liked the nickname and the barber had screwed up my haircut and made it way shorter and butchier than I wanted.  (For some reason, that was a satisfactory answer- I don’t know about you, but I’d still be suspicious.)  Maybe a year ago, I would have been grateful for him covering my ass, but now I felt as though he were ashamed of me.  I am now at the point where I’m coming out to respected adults and parents of friends in my life and expecting to be taken seriously, and it’s no longer a game to be hidden from the grown-ups.

To be fair, he said that she’d decidedly stated that she didn’t like transsexuals, so I was at the risk of not being welcome in their home if I’d been outed, therefore, he’d taken measures.  But damn it, I’ve come to the that place in my transition where, if somebody doesn’t like it, then it’s up to them to decide whether the loss of me as a friend is worth it, because I’m not going to change myself to fill people’s expectations just to keep them around.  I spent the first two decades of my life wasting time on that.  Frankly, if you don’t know I’m trans by now, then I either don’t respect you or don’t trust you.

Day Whatever: Grandma’s funeral.

So, in the mayhem of the last few days, being stranded in various places with my computer bluescreening at me completely at random, and this new death in the family, I’ve made little progress with keeping to my challenge, and frankly, I don’t really care.

Some things are more important.

I think her funeral is going to be Tuesday, but nobody really knows for sure yet.  I was never really extremely close to her- she was the grandma on my mom’s side, and after mom died, I didn’t want too much to do with anyone attached to her.  At least, it was that way for a long time.  Not only that, but she was very religious and kinda homophobic, and frankly, I didn’t want to deal with the drama of being exiled from her side of the family for being a tranny freak.  I remember thinking, quite grimly, that she didn’t have much time left on this earth and I’d rather her go out thinking the best of things about her grandchild than to have to know the truth.  Besides, I thought, she was a relic of a time long past, someone set in her ways, someone I’d probably never have any hope of changing.  She’s been in bad health for a long time… it was best to just let things be. At least, that was how I felt until only a few months ago. Now, I have regrets.

Recently, I’ve begun to let go of the bitterness I had towards my mom, and coming with that has been a surprising curiosity and hunger to know about the person my mom really was.  All I really remember about her was that she was a crazy bitch, in the good ways and in the worst ways.  She did the sorts of things to me that people remember monsters for, and yet, at the very least, she was a very interesting person.  I’ve heard things about her from her friends, from my dad, and her family that tell me she was capable of extraordinary things. I was coming to believe that my grandmama knew things about her that I wouldn’t even be able to ask of anyone else. I wanted, for a while now, to at least have one last conversation with her- tell her things that she didn’t know about her child, and learn things from her that I didn’t know about my mom.

It seemed like we could have both gained some healing closure from making that connection about one person between us who touched our lives, for better or for worse.  But she was in such bad health for such a long time, especially after her first stroke, bedridden and sleeping every time we came to visit.  I kept thinking, I’ll be able to talk to her next time.  Now, she’s gone, and with her, things that have now forever been lost to time.

Oh, well.  Life goes on, and maybe it’s for the best.

Random bits and pieces.

I’ve developed this weird little rash on my neck where my Adam’s Apple should be.  Yesterday, it looked like a hickey, which is weird because nobody’s been kissing me there.  Today, it feels bumpy and weird.  I don’t like to make a big deal out of unrelated events, but it just kinda tickled me- as if my body is going, “Look here.  You see this?  This here?  This is where this lump should be, and it’s not.  What the fuck.”

Also, I’ve been pumping, so “little friend” (as I call it) has been growing, I think.  I don’t know how much bigger, to be specific, or if anyone out on the interwebs needs to know the details, but my partner said it looks bigger, and he’s not the sort to say things just to make me feel better.  So that’s kind of exciting.

Insurance is being a dick.  I keep doing something wrong, or sending something in the wrong date, or etc. etc., and all I really want is to be able to go talk to a doctor about getting a T prescription.  I’m not asking for insurance to pay for it, I’ll pay for it myself, cent for cent.  But this is taking FOR-FUCKING-EVER, this red tape.  Plus, social services screwed me over for food stamps last year.  They said that when I was trying to cancel food stamps, THEY made a mistake, some sort of clerical error, and need ME to pay them back $200.  Are you kidding me?  I’ve been trying my damnedest just to hold on to $200, let along the $500 I need to get my car fixed- and yes, I’m in a situation where I don’t need help with food, but I AM ALSO in a situation where I DON’T need to owe people money!  This sucks azz, bro.

It just seems like the world is trying to hold me back from medically transitioning, because it’s taking forever to get this freaking ball rolling.  I’m going to be filling out the paperwork, AGAIN, hopefully for the last time, today.

I think my body’s catching on, though, in lieu of the ability to get testosterone in my body.  For instance, I’m noticing hair growing on my back and shoulders and all kinds of areas where I never really noticed any before.  Also, apparently my voice is deep enough for me to at least pass as a 15 year old boy.  I think it might be more of an inflection thing, and some of the voice stretching exercises.

Although I quit the minoxidil a little while back (read the comments on “Quick update: Minoxidil” for the reasons why), my eyebrows have been growing in a more male shape, which may or may not be due to the minoxidil.  I’ve been shaving my face a lot more often lately, too- it was kind of hard to let go of the tiny bits of peach fuzz at first, but then reading that it can actually incriminate more than having a clean shaven face (because men either have stubble or nothing and only women have peach fuzz), I reluctantly picked up the razor.  I’ve read both ways- that it’s an old wives tale that shaving makes your hair grow in darker, or that it’s just because the ends are more blunt when you shave off the tips, but either way, I think it’s been growing a little faster.

In order to give me more incentive to shave it off, I went to the store and bought this totally badass razor that has all these metallic bits and functions, and it came in a set with a bunch of guy-smelling soap and deodorant, all for $8, too, so I felt really good about that.  I was getting low on my shampoo.

All these little things and everything else coming together, plus just relaxing into a male identity and being more confident about it, I think is contributing to the amount of people reading me as male lately.  It was funny- at Faire, that group who initiated me, they were first a lot more awkward trying to tell me that they’d decided amongst themselves that I looked way better as a dude than as a chick.  They couldn’t imagine how epic it was to hear that!

I think it’s when you travel back, you can see how far you’ve come.  Last night, I was practicing one of my theatrical makeup techniques (specifically, how to make your eyebrows disappear without shaving them off) and it worked so well, I wound up turning it into a celebrity impersonation photoshoot for my makeup portfolio.  If you’ve ever heard of Amanda Palmer, you know it’s necessary to have no eyebrows to dress as her.  But you’ll also understand why, dressing as her, it was the first time in a long time I felt that comfortable wearing a dress.  She tends to defy gender boundaries, and that makes me happy.

Anyway, I noticed something in the pictures that jarred me a little- I didn’t look female when I put on makeup anymore.  I looked very distinctly like a drag queen!  That tells me how far I’ve come- I can’t look completely female anymore, even when dressing as one.  I knew that day would come, but I didn’t expect it this soon.

Family issues- my dad’s was trying at first, I think, to be accepting, but something’s going wrong here, because I don’t think he’s taking me seriously.  I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m going through a phase, and his latest hobby has been dropping little hints to remind me “what I really am.”  I think that he thinks he’s doing me a favor.  It feels like shit.  Like, every single little time I let my front of masculinity down the slightest bit, he’s there to catch me and remind me that “men do this and this,” or “you wouldn’t get it, it’s a guy thing.”  I have to conform to every single binary to get my dad to take me seriously, and it sucks ass, because I know he thinks I’m fake, and the way it’s going, he’s basically making me act fake so he’ll think I’m real.  He’s the only person who has power over me this way.  With everyone else, I can flaunt the gender binary and laugh when they look confused.  I don’t much care what people think.  With my dad, I really, really want him to think of me as his son… and he’s making me jump through hoops to get it.  It doesn’t help that I’m going out with a guy, either.  I’m sure that if I’d been born completely male, and if I were going out with a guy, he’d think I was a sissy-boy, too.  I don’t know how to resolve this.  He needs to understand that I’m not a traditional, cut-out male, but I’m not female, either.  I’m just his kid, hopefully his son, and if I’m not perfect, then too bad, because I’d be really boring if I were.  I’m doing the best I can to reconcile the two sides of my gender, and he’s not making it any easier.  In fact, he’s making it harder than anyone else, because I actually value his opinion.  I wonder, if he saw that, would he try to hurt me like this all the time?

Ivy, my baby girl.

Last night, I dreamed that my lover and I were getting married.  He was wearing the most amazing white wedding gown and he looked like a princess.  I was wearing a tuxedo.  When we walked into the chapel, which had been barren before, the entire place bloomed to life with plants and vines and flowers and it was as if the entire world had become a beautiful and colorful place.

His bouquet was made of baby’s breath and ivy.  When we reached the altar, time slowed and stopped, and he handed his bouquet to me.  As I gazed at it, I knew our destiny.  One day, I told him, we’re going to have a baby girl, and we’re going to name her Ivy.

When I woke up, I felt on fire.

I’ve been wanting to figure out some way to preserve my eggs so I can get on testosterone and still be a daddy some day.  The main problems I have with this are the financial implications- it’s going to take me a lot longer to save up enough money to be able to extract and preserve my eggs than it would just to fling that dream to the wind and go on testosterone soon as possible.  I know I could still adopt, or find some other way to have a surrogate mother, but more and more often lately I’ve been feeling that I want my baby to be mine.  Is that too much to ask?  Should I just accept that any baby is as precious as one that comes from my genetics?  Am I being too hoity-toity in wanting to be the biological father of my child?

Onslaught.

So I’ve been feeling really great about everything.  Last night, my lovely boyfriend and I finally managed to pull enough money together to order a good binder so I can stop using the backbreaking one I’ve been using, my insurance is about to go through so I can see about getting a gender therapist, everyone’s been seeing me as a guy, and people are slowly but surely figuring out the name.

I feel like I’m sitting on a go-cart that I’ve been trying to make go for months now, and finally some deity descended from the heavens and gave me a gentle push and now I’m finally, slowly, starting to roll down the hill.  But suddenly, my stomach is lurching because I’m looking forward and the hill gets a lot steeper from here, and I’m just about to pass that point where, if I wanted to, I could stick my legs out and grind to a halt without any major injury, get up, and walk away.  Things are About to Happen, and if I don’t stop before the Point of No Return, then there’s absolutely no going back and I’m going to have to ride this cart for the rest of my life.

It’s unbelievable, because I never thought I’d have these feelings.  I know it’s only natural to have a little bit of apprehension before the point of no return, but now I’m having this internal critic hit me with a real onslaught of all the really hard questions, things like:

– “Everyone’s going to look at you and say, ‘Why did you even transition, if you’re a gay man?  Gay men are basically just women anyway, wouldn’t it just be easier to stay in a girl’s body?'”

– “You never fit in as a girl, but suddenly you think that if you transition, you’ll fit in as a boy, and you KNOW that’s not true.  If anything, you’ll fit in less!”

– “You’re using this trans thing to explain all your boy tendencies, but once you cross over, how do you explain away all the girl ones?”

– “What if you’re not really a guy?  What if this IS just another phase, another obsession with being different, one that could get you KILLED?”

– “You say this explains everything- the abuse, the dissociation, etc., but what if you’re just making connections that aren’t there so that you can make your life make sense, and when the novelty of being trans wears itself out, it’s just another layer of fuck-up on top of the pile?”

These are the kinds of questions that have been killing me, the ones that have been keeping me up at night, really personal questions that only I would know.
I have answers for all of those questions, and when I remember the things that can’t be explained away with a “what if” scenario, like how only wearing a strap-on makes me feel complete and how being on top is the only sex act that entirely works for me, or how I really only feel attractive and not-deformed when I bind up and have a flat chest, or how I’ve been lusting after facial hair since I was six, and how I’ve always felt gay with boys and straight with girls, even long before I knew I could possibly be trans-

When I remember all those things, and how being trans makes my life complete, and how my mind has been at more peace in the last 6 months than it’s been the entire rest of my life-

When I remember how accepting that I was trans made the voices stop, made the dissociation fade and made me stop seeing things at night, and made my mind finally healthy, and some semblance of normal-

When I see how my friends and family are finally more happy that I’m less crazy and upset and irritable and generally screwed-up these days than they are sad to see the old me go away-

Then I know that everything’s going to be alright, and I can keep going.

My little insecurities and fears are not nearly enough to turn me away from the one thing that has made my life finally worth living.  I have been more afraid to die in the last six months than I even was when I was a child, and I take that as a good and healthy sign that I finally love life enough not to want to leave it.

Once again, no pics, but Things are Afoot.

I went fishing with my dad Friday morning.  He was to meet one of his old friends from church, Lon, so he asked me the prerequisite question- “How are you going to explain your haircut?”

(I find that a lot of stupid questions, like “What did you do to your HAIR?!”, are best followed with a stupid answer, i.e., “I got a haircut.”  Somehow, this ridiculously redundant answer- explaining nothing at all of my trans status, of the tiny black shadow on my upper lip, of my distinctly male profile (thank you, backbreaking binders) or of my starkly male dress code- seems to be enough for anyone asking the question. They shrug and go back to business as usual.  Why?  Did they really find the information they were looking for in that simple, obvious answer?  Couldn’t they have gleaned that from their own question?  Do they ever WANT to know more, or were they just asking for the sake of acknowledgment?  If they wanted to acknowledge, couldn’t they have asked in a manner that wasn’t so directly reminiscent of “OH MY GOD BOTH YOUR LEGS ARE IN CASTS, what did you DO to yourself?!”  I wasn’t in a car wreck, people.  I walked into a barbershop and paid someone to do this.  Nobody stole my hair in the night.  (Although I have considered, without following through, answering something to the effect of “I have cancer.”  It would be an appropriately dramatic answer to their dramatic inquiry.)  But why not something like, “Nice haircut,” or even “I see you got your hair cut, how’s that treating you?” instead of acting like I’m a chemical burn victim?

Or maybe they did want to know more, i.e., “WHY did you get your hair cut?”, in which case I would be stumped for a simple answer.  But that question, “What did you do to your HAIR?!” seems to be the most common question and my standard answer is the one that leads to the least possible drama in any given situation.  Maybe the short curtness of it turns people away from asking any more, as if I were saying this- “I cut my hair off for personal reasons that I obviously don’t want to go into because if I did, I wouldn’t have said something short and stupid like ‘I got a haircut.'”  Who knows what goes through the heads of the Inquisitors.  They’ll know all too much soon enough.)

Anyway, back to the story at hand.  I was dressed in my fishing finest, my uniform since before I can remember- blue jeans, plaid flannel shirt, baseball cap, army boots.  I’d never really cared about how it was assembled before, I just threw it on and went, untucked and looking more like I’d climbed out of bed with a hat on.  But I’ve found that male dress isn’t always about what you wear, but how you wear it.  The addition of the binder made for a flatter chest, of course, and now I knew to tuck my shirt into my pants and let the belt ride below my gut, not across my bellybutton and above the rise of my hips like I’d been more inclined to do as a gut-conscious female dresser.  The short hair brought the dapper, mountain-man look all together, as though I were a 15-year-old version of my father (in spite of being the age of 21).

My dad looked me up and down and remarked, “He probably isn’t going to recognize you.  How do you plan on handling this?”

Excitement filled my limbs.  “Oh, dad, can’t we tell him I’m your nephew or something?  That’d be so cool.  I could be your nephew Tommy…”

He narrowed his eyes.  “I’m not going to lie.”

My heart dropped, and I tried to salvage the situation.  “Well, you don’t have to keep it up.  It could be like a joke.  You could introduce me, and we’ll see if he remembers me, and if he doesn’t, then we’ll let him believe it for a little while, just for the fun of it, and then tell him later, and if he does know it’s me, then obviously it’s just funny-”

“I’m not going to lie,” he repeated.

And that seemed to be the end of that.

I didn’t care too much.  I knew it was unlikely that he would think I was my own long-lost nephew or something- after all, he’d seen me in pants and a binder before (kind of a no-no for a Pentecostal follower, but he hadn’t said anything).  The only difference was the haircut.  Besides, not everything had to be a gender experiment.  I really just wanted to go fishing with my dad.

When we got to the lake, it took a little while to find him, but he came waving and all smiles up out of a boat ramp, with one of HIS friends.  This was unexpected.  My dad looked him up and down, looked at Lon, looked at me, and shrugged.  “Hey Brother Lon, it’s great to see you.  Have you met my son, Tommy?”

I looked up from the ground with lightning eyes and looked back and forth at my dad and Lon, and grinned.  Lon said, “Hey, Tommy,” and we both laughed.  I’m pretty sure he recognized me, and I’m pretty sure it was just a joke to him, but something significant had happened.

I remembered my dad saying, twice, “I’m not going to lie.”  This meant that he acknowledged me, truthfully, as his son.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  I didn’t care what anyone else thought, this was what really mattered.

My biggest surprise came later in the morning.  Lon’s friend looked over in between the long moments of silence and asked my dad, “So how old is he?  Your son?”

I think he asked something else too, but the excitement at hearing someone use the right pronouns, someone who had been in my presence for more than a few minutes, someone who had even heard me talk a little, and this someone wasn’t even thinking about sidestepping female pronouns for my sake- I was just a person, just this kid- well, anything else he might have said flew right out the window.

I tried to answer as sanely as I could.  “Yeah, I just turned 21.”  I had to to try not to let my voice jump up a few dozen octaves.  The joke had gone right over his head- I was just my dad’s son, nothing special about it.

This is saying amazing things to me.  This is like the world opening up to me and going, “Yes, things aren’t going to be as hard as you thought.  Yes, you’re actually making progress on your journey.  Yes, you’re on a downhill slant from here.  Maybe you’re even closer to the end of this particular journey than the beginning.”

It reminds me of a quote from “So Long and Thanks For All the Fish,” one book from Douglas Adam’s fabulous Hitchhiker’s Guide series.

“For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone for long enough with a Swiss Cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who awakes one morning to find the door to his cage hanging quietly open and the savannah stretching grey and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.

He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with a shared surprise.

He hadn’t realized that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognized its tones till it now said something it had never said to him before, which was ‘Yes’.”

Some shade of awkward/awesome is happening under my roof.

I’m not sure why, because I’ve had the haircut for a couple weeks now and I’ve been binding for over 6 months now and I haven’t worn makeup in probably a year and haven’t shaved my legs in two, but for some reason it all came together a couple nights ago, because the eight-year-old we adopted turned around when I walked in the room, looked me up and down, and asked, point blank, “Are you a boy?”

Now I wasn’t sure how to handle this, because yes, it would be awesome if everyone I lived with started acknowledging my gender, and I know that young children happen to be some of the most easily accepting people out there, without any huge gender strings attached.  But I also know that they can’t keep their traps shut when needed, and also, with my stepmom who can never really accept this and her religious outlook on raising these kids, it would just be asking for trouble to come out to them.

So, hardly skipping a beat, I went with the “casual, no big deal” attitude approach and said, “Sure, why not?”

She inspected me a little more closely.  “Because you look like a boy in that shirt.”

Later that night, she started to call me Tommy.

The funny thing was, I was wearing what I considered to be about the dykiest stuff in my wardrobe.  I’d taken this attitude that, no matter what I do with myself right now, until I get on T and my voice drops and so forth, I’m pretty much going to look like a dyke to everyone who sees me, so I might as well roll with it for now, call it a cosplay, and at least be sexiest dyke that I can be.  To that purpose, that day I was wearing one of those black t-shirts with a tuxedo front printed on it (so 80’s!), a pair of hand-me-down pants I like to call the “Pretencha-Pants” (because they were factory-ripped and bleached to perfection off the rack, hence dripping with pretension, and my boyfriend frankly couldn’t bring himself to wear them since he got them for christmas last year) and also army boots, a leather jacket, and a fedora with a pinstriped band.  Oh yes, I had looks to beat the dykiest dyke out there, and in my moment where I was embracing that everyone couldn’t see me as anything but a girl and therefore I might as well look like the kind of girl I wouldn’t mind looking like, someone snapped me out of it and pinned me as a boy.

The next day, of course, I was called to jury duty.  That morning, I went relatively dress-casual, with black jeans and a grey dress shirt (no tie) and also, my leather jacket because I couldn’t find the other one in time.  I figured, if there was anything in my outfit that would pin me as a dyke, that was it, but I just shrugged and rolled with it.  I didn’t really care what people saw me as- I was just there to do my civic duty and so forth.

When I was getting ready to leave, 8 y.o. decided to make a big deal out of it- “You look like a boy again.  You look like you have a mustache.”  I leapt to the mirror to look at my tiny fuzz- not much, I’m afraid, but just enough to give me a little tiny shadow in the right lighting.  She thought I had put shading there, but I had her look real close, and she saw that it was real hair.  And that was when she really started to freak out- “She’s turning into a boy!  Quick, glue your hair back on!  Shave your mustache!  We have to stop you from turning into a boooooy!!!”  It was actually pretty funny, because I obviously didn’t want her to take it seriously, and I don’t think she was.  (Also, my dad called her an idiot.)  Mainly, I just took it as affirmation.  But at that point, I figured I still looked like a dyke and an 8 year old couldn’t really tell the difference, not having been part of queer community and whatnot.

So imagine my surprise when, going though the metal detectors at the courthouse, I had the guy who checked me say, “You’re all clear, sir.  Move along.”  It was the best moment EVAR.  He didn’t even double-take and say “Sir- I mean, Miss, sorry,” like has been said before.  It was the first unquestioned “Sir” I’ve ever gotten.

Better still, when the Judge was doing her cross-examination of the jurors and she got to me, she looked at me and said,
“Mr…”
(glance down at paper)
“…Harbor*…”
(glance back up, then double-take at paper)
“…Excuse me, MISS Harbor.”
(commence slight tittering throughout the courtroom)

My first legal name is unmistakeably female, so the Miss was understandable.  I didn’t even get bummed at being outed as female in front of a courtroom of about 80 people.  It was a pretty cool test, saying that, with a little effort (and without opening my mouth), I can be read as male, even by someone as observant and sharp as a justice of the court.  (And yes, she was very sharp- I liked her a lot.)  Everyone seemed to read me as male before she unveiled me, too, so it was pretty intense.

Hopefully later tonight I can post pics of my transition progess and haircut.  I’m just glad I’m becoming visibly male.  The next step is a proper binder, which my partner is actually offering to pay for because I’m so strapped for cash lately.  The other very vital step, to me, is getting on T so I can fix my voice.  Everything else feels secondary- I’d just like to be able to communicate without being read.

*name changed to protect the not-so-innocent

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